One-year-old Marlowe has been in hospital since January. Due to the seriousness of her condition she was not allowed to leave her hospital bed without a specialist buggy that could ensure her vital medical equipment could be transported safely while meeting her health needs.
Because of how poorly Marlowe has been, Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children loaned her a specialist buggy which came just in time for her to spend her first birthday at home with her twin brother Henley – this was the first time in six months the twins (both named after places on the Thames) were able to spend time together.
There is no statutory service funding available for Marlowe’s buggy and the Newlife loan is for around six months, which is why the charity and Marlowe’s family are appealing to local heroes in Hampshire to help her get her own specialist equipment costing £3,230, which can permanently replace the one the charity has loaned to her.
The family lives in Petersfield – including older sister Faith, aged 11. Marlowe has Down’s Syndrome and was born with a cardiac condition resulting in her having open heart surgery in February 2016. Following the surgery she was discharged in March, but during the journey home her family quickly noticed her health was deteriorating and brought her straight back to hospital where they were told that Marlowe had caught the flu which sadly had destroyed her lungs. She was fitted with a tracheostomy not long after and is now ventilated 24 hours a day.
Mum Ally said: “Without a specialist buggy to hold her equipment we were not even allowed to take her out of her hospital bed, so bringing her home for the day was out of the question. It’s been a difficult few months for us, when we took Marlowe back to hospital we were told to say goodbye to her three times, but now she is getting better day by day.
“The loan of the buggy came just in time for Marlowe and Henley’s birthday, she was able to come home with a nurse and spend the day with us; we had a huge party which all our friends and family attended it was lovely.”
The specialist buggy Marlowe needs is beyond the family budget so they turned to Newlife – the largest charity funder of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness in the UK – for help. They received a buggy from the charity’s Emergency Equipment Loan service within a matter of days.
Equipment loans are made for around six months, while Newlife works with local statutory services to try to secure provision. If this is not possible, Newlife can further support families by looking at permanent provision through the Equipment Grant Service.
“We couldn’t be more grateful for the buggy because without it, it would have been impossible for her to spend her birthday with us. Even though she is still in hospital we are able to take her out on short trips around the hospital. The buggy carries all her ventilation equipment so we can leave her room knowing she will be kept safe.”
Right now, Marlowe’s family is just one of 21 in the county who need equipment totalling £64,621. That’s why Newlife has a dedicated Hampshire Fund – https://newlifecharity.co.uk/Hampshire which gives local people the opportunity to help local disabled children. Every penny donated or fundraised in Hampshire is guaranteed to support families in the county.
To specifically support Marlowe, go the website and click on the Donate button beside her story.
The website includes contact details for the Newlife County Liaison Team – tel no 01543 431 444 or email [email protected] – and shows specific ways people can help support children with disability and terminal illness and their families in the county.
The Newlife Hampshire Fund supports equipment provision for under-19s facing any significant disability, whether acquired through birth defect, prematurity, accident or illness. Newlife has provided 399 families in the county with disability equipment – including beds, wheelchairs, seating and sensory aids – worth over £600,000.